Sam Francis

This painting is titled Point Reyes Self Portrait. Though the typical elements of a portrait are absent from this painting, Francis represents himself through several elements of the painting surface. The centrally placed geometric element is evocative of the Tibetan mandala, which Carl Jung considered to be “a psychological expression of the totality of the self.” Francis was a passionate student of Jungian psychology and incorporated elements of Jung’s belief system into his work. The wide swath of blue pigment forms an imperfectly shaped circle, with deep red crimson paint pooling in the center to symbolize the artist’s beating heart. Each trail of dripped or splattered color draws the eye in a different direction, giving us a complex view of the artist through his abstract depiction of self.